When I first considered taking the Certificate of Pastoral Ministry program at St. Peter’s Seminary, I had some doubts about how I might handle studying, what is in my mind, the “Arts” subjects. After all, I once spent 10 years at university studying Mathematics and I was sure that one would need different mind-sets for the study of Mathematics and subjects like Philosophy and Religion. Now, there is also the fact that writing a concise and precise mathematical paper and writing an essay with no numbers and graphs are quite different. (Although I, once upon a time, managed to insert a mathematical graph in an essay for my high school English Literature course, showing the emotional development of the major character in a fiction.) However, I also enjoy challenges and so, I decided that taking the CPM program will be my challenge for the next few years.
Two of the topics I studied earlier in the year were on the Doctrine of the Triune God and Christology. I mentioned how I understood the doctrine of Trinity through Mathematics back in December. (See my earlier post.) In fact, I now see that the logic in mathematical studies is actually very useful when applied to the study of many abstract, philosophical religious concepts. I know, many teachers teaching the mystery of God would frown if I tried to describe the Mystery mathematically. They would worry that I would be reducing the Mystery to some “solvable” equation of sorts. However, all I am saying here is that the logical thoughts in how we study the subjects are the same.
For instance, in Mathematics, we are always dealing with statements like “A implies B”; therefore, “Not B implies Not A”. In studying about Christ, people realized the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant that the death of Jesus was not ordinary and that the people came to believe the baby borne in the manger some 33 years earlier was no ordinary baby. There, “Not B implies Not A!”
Another example deals with the way we present Mathematical formulas. Whenever we present a formula, we always list the conditions in which the variables have to satisfy so that the formula will be valid. These conditions are what we called the constraints. Now, when we read the Book of Genesis, we know that we are created in the image of God. One good explanation of this plan is that when God sent his only Son to be fully human, as human is already in the image of God, then incarnation is possible. In other words, God created the constraint and satisfied the constraint at the same time for the Incarnation “formula” to work! This is how we become the Body of Christ and be nourished by the Body of Christ at mass!
I just think this is the most beautiful Mathematical formula ever!